And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.(Revelation 7:13-17)
Throngs of blissful worshippers, stand before the throne in heaven, in John’s vision. They are clothed in white for their work and struggle are over, it is now time for the celebration of the never-ending feast of Sukkot, (Tabernacles), for now finally and fully God does indeed dwell with men. They wave palm branches for they have gotten the victory over the world, the flesh and the Devil. None of them worshipped the Beast.
These people come from everywhere and every time. They no longer sing the line from Psalm 118, “Save us OH God we beseech thee!”. They now sing “Salvation belongs to God, and to the Lamb”, giving glory to the One who by now has made their salvation a completed fact. It is over, now they have entered into the joy prepared by the Father,for in Him and the LAmb they have triumphed forever!
One of the Holy and august elders approached John in the vision, and asked him “Who are these? And Where do they come from?”. John rightly deffered to the elder, saying “You know who they are”.The answer is two-fold;
* These are they who came out of great Tribulation- There is not a mere spectator in the crowd. All who stood there in bliss before the throne, had to pass through some degree of “Thlipsis”, pressure, rejection, persecution,trouble, and hatred in their pilgrimage through this sin darkened world. Paul told us in the epistle to Timothy, “All who will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution”.
No one gets to heaven without considerable dents in their armor, and various degrees of cuts, scrapes and gashes, in short battle wounds to correspond to the wounds of the LAmb whom they have followed. Some sealed their testimony in their own blood, forfeiting life rather than denying their LORD> Others like Peter, did deny their LORD, endured long agonizing nights of torment, hearing over and over again the cock crow, but were restored and given another chance to witness to Him.
Some knew the agony of betrayal by loved ones, and even the treachery of betrayal by professing Christians. A good many felt forgotten by their bretheren, cut off, out of sight snd mind through their torment, comforted only by their Saviour.
But all of that is behind them now, and God has wiped the tears from their eyes. Here they stand in Bliss.
* They have washed their robes White in the blood of the Lamb- All of these were given the white robe of Salvation, while yet in this filthy, sin stained world. Their task? Maintain that pure whiteness. How? Isn’t it inevitable to be stained, spattered and muddied whilst we still tread these earthly streets with their open moral sewers streaming along every single by-way?
But these continually resorted to the promises of First John, such as “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”, and “If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of JEsus cleanses us from each and every sin”(I john 1)
Some who started out, were overwhelmed by the task, of maintaining the purity of the robe, they thought it impossible and were willing to just let it go. In some cases they listened to false prophets who told them that sin doesn’t hinder our relationship with God(I John 3:8-).
But these kept constant accounts, staying close to God and hating sin. The regularly submitted themselves to the Divine laundering, applying the death of “the one who loved them and washed tem from their sins in His own blood”(Rev 1:5).
Now they dwell with God himself, and all of the deepest yearnings and hungers of their heart are satisfied. They knew that the world couldn’t meet the true needs of their hearts, so they waited for Him, the good Shepherd. The Shepherd comforts them, shades them, feeds them, He wipes the tears from their eyes! Amazing! Hallelujah!